If you see double image of one object, you might be suffering from double vision or diplopia. Here are the causes, symptoms and treatment of diplopia.
Sometimes out of dizziness or nausea, you see things double. But if double vision becomes a constant, it is a matter of concern. Seeing two images of an object is called double vision and this condition is called diplopia. Generally, this is caused due to an underlying health condition. As per Dr. Hemant Todkar, Ophthalmologist at Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune, once you find out that you are experiencing double vision, you must see an ophthalmologist to get treated, prevent other symptoms and recover your eyesight to normal. Since this condition is related to the eyes, you must know about it. Read the article for all the information related to diplopia.
Diplopia and its types
There are two types of double vision or diplopia:
- Monocular diplopia
- Binocular diplopia
Monocular diplopia is when double vision occurs only in one eye. Binocular diplopia occurs when both the eyes show a double vision. While monocular double vision could be due to an issue in the eye, binocular double vision may be caused as a result of an underlying problem. It is very important to identify the type before proceeding with the treatment. Here is a test that you can do to find whether you have double vision in one eye or both eyes:
- When you experience double vision, put your hand on one eye.
- Do this with both eyes, one by one.
- If double vision occurs in both cases, you have binocular diplopia.
- On the other hand, if double vision occurs only in one eye, you have monocular diplopia.
Double Vision (Diplopia) Causes
Since there are two types of diplopia, the causes of each type are different. We will explain to you the potential causes of each kind of double vision.
Causes of monocular diplopia
Monocular diplopia is less common as compared to binocular diplopia. It is associated with the problem in one eye. Here are some reasons behind monocular double vision:
- Irregular curvature and shape of the eye or severe astigmatism
- Keratoconus or changes in corneal shape
- Pterygium or pinkish tissue growth in the inner corner of the eyes
- Dry eye
Causes of binocular diplopia
When you cannot see a clear image after closing either of the eyes, it is due to binocular double vision. Your eyes seem to be not working in sync and this is why you see one object doubly. The possible causes of binocular diplopia are:
- Nerve damage
- Myasthenia gravis (a neuromuscular disease that causes weakening of eye muscles)
- Cranial nerve palsy(a condition when blood flow to the nerves in the eyes is blocked)
- Strabismus or crossed eyes
- Grave's disease
Double Vision Problems Symptoms
While the double vision itself is the symptom of diplopia, a person may also experience the below-mentioned symptoms:
- Pain in the eyes when you rotate them
- Pain in eyebrows and temples
- Cross-eyed appearance or misalignment of eyes
- Weakening of eyes
- Droopy eyelids
You must conduct a double vision test if you see these symptoms and get yourself checked for diplopia.
Are there any complications of diplopia?
There are potential complications attached to different causes of diplopia. These may range from normal to serious depending upon the condition and how long it is been there. Complications can range from easily treated conditions to lifelong chronic ailments. Here is a list of the possible complications:
- Light or sound sensitivity
The serious outcome of diplopia can be brain tumor if the condition isn’t resolved timely. In rare cases, life-threatening ailments like infections may also occur. If you experience headache and severe eye pain along with double vision, this is a warning sign. You need immediate medical attention to avert these complications.
Diagnosing Double Vision or Diplopia
As already mentioned, you can easily diagnose diplopia or double vision by conducting a simple test by yourself. You can find whether you have monocular diplopia or binocular diplopia with this method. However, the problem lies in finding out the root cause behind double vision. Based on the symptoms, the doctor would suggest tests to identify the cause of double vision.
Here are three diagnoses for double vision that an ophthalmologist would perform:
1. Health stats and medical history
The first step towards diagnosing double vision is listing out the health history. This would include all your symptoms of diplopia including vision problems that you are experiencing. You must tell everything to the doctor. Even a minute of information can help in better diagnosis.
- Personal medical history: Do you have any existing medical conditions like thyroid, diabetes or a neurological disorder? Your doctor would ask this question. Any existing condition may also cause vision problems.
- Family medical history: You might get diplopia if anyone in your family has or had it in the past. Maybe your father, mother, grandfather, etc. had this condition. There are some chances of hereditary diplopia. This can help in better diagnosis.
2. Physical examination
A range of tests can be advised to understand the root cause of the problem including:
- Blood test for eye infection
- Dilated eye test
- Vision check
- Toxicity test
- Eye movement test
- Imaging tests like MRI or CT Scan
How to Treat and Prevent Double Vision?
Treatment can be done after finding the root cause. Only after the doctor gets hold of the problem, he/she can suggest the right treatment to cure the condition. Your vision will become normal once you receive the treatment.
Treatment for diplopia
The possible treatment options to correct double vision are:
Eye exercises: In mild cases or monocular diplopia, the condition can be stabilised with regular eye exercises. These restore muscle strength to improve vision. You can ask the doctor to suggest some exercises and see if they help in recovering your vision.
Corrective lenses: This is an instant remedy for double vision. These are special glasses or lenses where vision is adjusted by etching prisms into the lenses. You would see a normal vision after wearing these glasses.
Eye patch: This is a rather temporary solution for monocular double vision(double vision in one eye) and may not provide long-term results. This only helps in getting rid of double vision for the time-being until you wear the patch and cover the affected eye.
Surgery: If there is any serious condition that cannot be resolved by aforesaid measures, you may be requiring surgery. Consult your ophthalmologist before getting surgery so that there are no risks involved in the process.
Most people recover after these treatment options but it is important that you consult only a specialist. Any loophole in the treatment or wrong aid may land you in big trouble.
In some cases, double vision may retaliate or come back after some time. This depends on the causes. If you experience a double vision problem again, ask your doctor and work on ways to cure it. Most people recover fully after getting the right treatment and only a few cases experience double vision again after a certain period. To cut down the risks, it is suggested to follow the treatment and abide by the instructions given by your ophthalmologist. You may require additional treatment if the condition is not resolved timely. Therefore, follow all the steps and report any issue to your doctor to get it resolved on time.
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